Did you know that one of Gracie’s earliest memories was going to pick you out? You lived on a quaint little farm and it was a warm May evening. She was only two, but she remembers that. I remember you and your brother running to me and I instantly fell in love. We took both of you home. That was the same day I found out I was pregnant with Brady.
I can’t count the number of times my dad has said to me over the years, “you shoulda read the book.” Marley & Me. That’s the book he’s referring to. Had I read it before bringing you two home, I might have had some sort of idea what we were in for. But then again, I may never have brought you home in the first place. But I didn’t, and so we did. We brought the cutest, cuddliest, brown eyed, yellow haired, little fur balls home.
You probably had no idea, how could you have, but that day began the adventures of Colt & Gunner. You two were kinda famous. That is not actually a compliment. But, I still loved you. So Much. And, you’re lucky I did, or you may not have survived those first few years.
I still loved you when you ate the drywall in the garage. In several different places.
I still loved you when you chewed through the chain link pen and escaped. Time and time again.
I still loved you when you chewed ALL THE WIRING under my car and made the dashboard light up like a Christmas display.
I loved you when you chewed the caps off all of my tires. Everyone else who parked in our driveway did not love you when you did the same to theirs.
I still loved you when you chewed through wood spindles to get out of the fence.
And, when you chewed a mattress to shreds and scattered it all over the garage and yard.
I loved you when you chewed the phone line connected to the house so we didn’t have phone or internet service for awhile.
I still loved you even when you chewed the gas line to the hot water heater. Thank God it wasn’t connected yet.
I loved you when you lost your SH*T Every. Single. Time it stormed. Especially the time you chewed through a bag of pine shavings and spread them around the garage like confetti. That was fun to clean up.
I love that you were Gracie’s first best friend and that I never, ever had to worry about you being gentle with her because you embodied gentle. I love that you were Brady and Abby’s first best friend too. They don’t know life without you in it.
You had no idea that sitting with you, calmed my anxious and weary heart as I watched my husband battle cancer. You couldn’t have known that minutes after he took his last breath, I stepped outside, wrapped my arms around you and just sobbed. You were my soft place to fall on one of the most devastating and horrific days of my life. You have no idea how much you helped me heal.
You were always the first one in the pool, and I really think you thought that pool was for you…the rest of us just got to use it too. You loved water about as much as you loved running. You also loved the neighbor’s koi pond. I swear you brought fish eggs over to our pool on more than one occasion.
One of your nifty tricks was opening the door with your mouth so you could come inside any old time you pleased to hang with your people. Remember when we were out of town and nobody could find you? That door opening trick bit ya in the a*# that time, didn’t it buddy? I still can’t believe you were in our house for almost 12 hours and never made a mess.
You had a routine every day, and made your rounds to the neighbor’s houses, grabbing food out of the trash, peeing on their porches, pooping in their yards and staring in their windows like a stalker. You were Colt, so nobody complained. One set of neighbors loved you so much they either took you to McDonald’s or had a cheeseburger waiting for you. The picture of you going after one of those cheeseburgers still makes me laugh. You truly were the mayor of our little neighborhood. You kissed the babies and gave a friendly smile to everyone that came and went.
While most labs look at chickens as dinner, you shared your food with ours. You never chased a cat and let the young pups jump all over you…until you had had enough of their nonsense. Then you’d give a little growl or a deep bark that we so seldom heard from you, just to let them know you were the boss and they needed to knock it off.
You were my barn buddy and on late nights when the world was so still and quiet out there, you made me feel safe. Countless hours of mucking stalls and there you’d lay, just waiting for me to finish up.
Did you know that every time I saw you running across the yard to meet us as we drove up the lane, it made me smile. You, made me smile. You were always the first one to greet us when we got home. Anytime, day or night. Always.
You loved to run. You ran through fields, woods and rivers. You ran and you ran and you ran. I wish we would have attached a Fitbit and a Go Pro to you. You had a pup like spirit and ran hard to the end.
Gracie said a few months ago, we’ll know it’s time when Colt stops running.
On Monday, you didn’t run to greet us. You didn’t hop around in excitement for your food. You really didn’t eat your food at all. We always said we would not let you suffer. You gave every bit of your unconditional love, devotion and adoration for almost twelve years. We owed it to you to let you go, when YOU were ready.
With Scott right next to me, I held your head in my hands as you took your last breath. You heard our voices telling you what a good boy you were, until the very end. You made our world a kinder, gentler, more loving place. I wish you could have lived forever, or at least until my time on this earth was over, so I never had to tell you goodbye.
I know you are kicking up flecks of gold as you run those streets of Heaven. Grinning. Happy. Free. Thank you, from the depths of my soul, for loving us so well. For being a loyal and faithful companion all the days of your life. Til we meet again, Old Man. You were the greatest.
Your Human Mama